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Recognizing Nurses at BCBSMT and Across the State

Becky Kloker has helped shine a spotlight on thousands of Montana nurses and their dedication to their patients and communities.

The past two years, newspapers across the state have included her in a special section produced in honor of National Nurses Week, which begins May 6 each year and ends May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing.  

Becky Kloker

Becky Kloker

Using this platform, Kloker, a registered nurse and clinical operations unit manager for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT), has described challenges nurses have faced during the pandemic and offered suggestions how communities can support them and improve health care quality.

“It really is an honor to do something like that,” Kloker says of the opportunity to represent Montana’s nurses and BCBSMT, a sponsor of the annual special section, which honors 10 area nurses nominated by their communities. “I believe our community can offer gratitude by simply thanking nurses and showing them respect at a time where this profession has faced incredible stress and a constantly changing health care environment.”

After about 10 years of providing bedside care herself, Kloker joined BCBSMT in 2008 and oversees a case management team focused on members’ overall health and well-being. The team develops one-to-one relationships with members to help them improve their health or reach personal goals.

“We’re still building those bonds and educating members to help them succeed in meeting their goals like we did when we provided hands-on care,” Kloker says. “Member outreach is a satisfying piece of my job, directly helping members work toward their health care goals.”

Many BCBSMT nurses like Kloker devoted decades of their lives working long shifts and countless nights, weekends and holidays caring for patients in clinical settings before transitioning to jobs, including case reviewers, care managers and care coordinators.

“In nursing there are a lot of different opportunities you can pursue,” she says. “There are always new things you can learn and areas to expand your career within the nursing profession.”

Wendy Schulenberg

Wendy Schulenberg

Wendy Schulenberg, a Wellbeing Health Advisor on Kloker’s team, agrees. She provided patients years of nursing home, in-home and hospice care before joining BCBSMT in 2019. 

“You still have that patient contact even though you don’t see them,” says Schulenberg. She appreciates now having the work-life balance that eluded her throughout her career. She used to routinely drive hundreds of miles to see patients whenever they needed her, day or night.

Explaining claims denials to frustrated members can be difficult, Schulenberg says. But she empathizes as she listens to their concerns and works to find solutions — the same way she did in clinical settings. “The ones who you help know you’re still making a difference,” Schulenberg says. “They profusely thank you. Those are the times you really are fulfilled.”

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